Incorporated under the Society Act of BC in July 2003, the VSA is recognized through an agreement between the provincial government and representatives of the motor dealer industry. The concept of the VSA has been a goal of the motor dealer industry for a number of years. The industry's trade associations (Automotive Retailers Association, BC Auto Dealers Association, Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of BC, and Motor Dealer Standards Association of B.C.) worked closely with government to create this regulatory organization, similar to what exists in B.C.'s real estate and insurance industries.
Origins and History
The retail motor vehicle industry has long been interested in self-management. In November 1997 a study group began to explore the feasibility of modernizing the regulatory framework applicable to B.C. motor dealers. Their intent was to make the regulatory framework more effective and efficient, to reduce the costs of regulation and to increase the scope of effective consumer protection in the motor dealer industry. Since the last provincial election, the interests of government and the motor dealer industry were joined in a project designed to create a new organization - a delegated administrative authority - to administer and enforce those authorities of the Motor Dealer Act as may be delegated to it by government.
The Current Situation
The motor vehicle industry has been in existence in the province for over eighty years. There are approximately 1,700 licensed motor dealers, 7,000 sales persons, and 5,000 other employees. In terms of commerce, motor dealers contribute over $10 billion to the annual economy and remit more than $1.5 billion in taxes yearly. The transition to have a delegated administrative authority regulate the motor dealer industry both legislatively and administratively began when the provincial government amended the Motor Dealer Act and other consumer protection statutes to allow for the creation of the VSA. The VSA registered as a not-for-profit society on July 21, 2003 and worked cooperatively with the Ministry of Small Business and Economic Development to ensure an effective transition on April 1, 2004. The VSA plays a major role in the regulation and licensing of motor dealers and the related areas of consumer protection applicable to motor dealers. More specifically, the government has mandated the VSA to assume greater responsibility for some or all of the following: licensing, standard setting and enforcement, complaint resolution, consumer protection and public industry education.